Orca (Killer Whale) - West Coast Indian Style



Good new / Bad news: This was an experiment in techniques and in mixing different materials. A couple of mis-steps led to near disaster in the last hour.

It was a thrill to see it turn out so well but a couple of errors in setting cutting processes left its bottom left badly scarred. The long shallow cut can be filed, sanded and feathered but the big one will have to be milled out. The big error will likely become a flat spot for a mount. I had a couple of lead-in's that were too long and for some reason the CAM program didn't pick up one of the area's near the nose to mill for the black border. 

But overall, I'm really pleased with the concept and will be looking for more projects like this. Maybe use some silver inserts

The overall dimensions are about 3.5" x 5.5"
The base is .375" aluminum, the brown area is .025" copper.
The red and black area's are polyester resin.


The process was essentially as follows:

  • Cut .025 copper plate with 1/32" end mill - one pass at 1 Inch per minute
  • Mill aluminum spiral pocket in aluminum with 3 end mills - .375", .250", .125"
  • Mill inside body outline with .0625" then .03125" end mills
  • Mix epoxy glue and blush on to back of aluminum and lay inside aluminum cutout; clamp in place covering copper with wax paper
  • Clean out excess epoxy - old dental tools are great for this
  • Fill all body pockets with polyester resin tinted red.
  • Mill body exterior and body cavity exterior lines with .03125" mill
  • Fill outlines with polyester resin tinted black
  • Mill body outline with .250" mill leaving .170" finishing allowance - this leaves the large aluminum border
  • Mill body outline with .250" mill leaving .150" finishing allowance to clean up
  • Surface mill at a depth of .001" to clean off the excess polyester resin - saves huge amount of sanding.
  • Wet sand - the above photo is only sanded with 220 grit so far. I'll wet sand in stages to about 800 grit.

Updated February 07, 2007   Home